A Kansas City teenager has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for robbing two people at gunpoint after arranging over the internet to meet them to sell a cell phone.
Jalen Clayton, 19, received the sentence in Platte County on May 30 after pleading guilty in March to two counts of first degree robbery and two counts of armed criminal action.
“This sentence sends a clear message that, in Platte County, violent crimes carry severe penalties,” Platte County prosecuting attorney Eric Zahnd said. “We won’t tolerate criminals who prey on the users of online marketplaces.”
Clayton admitted that, on March 18, 2018, he lured two victims to 5615 North Anita Avenue by posting an iPhone 8 for sale on the Offer Up app. When the victims arrived, Clayton got in the backseat of the victim’s car and pulled out a black handgun. Clayton then took the magazine out of the gun, showed the victims the bullets inside, and demanded their possessions. Each of the victims gave Clayton their cell phones and he ran away from the car.
Judge Thomas Fincham sentenced Clayton to 20 years on each of the robbery charges and 15 years on each of the armed criminal action charges. The sentences will run concurrently.
Because first degree robbery is classified under Missouri law as a dangerous felony, Clayton must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.
Zahnd reminded people to be safe when meeting strangers to complete online transactions.
“The Kansas City Police Department now has online exchange locations in the parking lots of its patrol stations,” Zahnd said. “We encourage people to use these locations or other safe, populated locations during daylight hours when meeting strangers to complete internet purchases.”
The case was investigated by the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and was prosecuted by assistant prosecutor Max Pepper.